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I decided between 2 PhD programs on April 15. Hardest decision of my life. The choice was between a prestigious program where I could continue working with an amazing advisor who I love, but not many others in the program showed interest in working with me; or I could move cross country to another prestigious program where my advisor seems like they will be amazing and everyone in the department really wanted to have me there and work with me, and many more professional opportunities are available there. I chose the one located across the country.

In the end I think both were great choices, just very different ones. My issue is that I am just so, so sad to leave, despite the new opportunities that seem great at the place I chose. Did I make the right decision if I am this sad about it? I love the city I live in now, have built a community here and my advisor has been so great to me. The school across the country is in a totally new place that I only visited once and now I am having fears, i.e. what if my new advisor isn't as great as they seemed? what if I hate the new city? what if they were dishonest about the number/quality of professional opportunities? etc. I know I probably can't go back on this decision as it would alienate key people in my field. Any words of wisdom or advice would be greatly appreciated.:unsure:

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One thing you'll often find is that your emotions often have no relation to the quality of your decision-making :)

It is quite normal to be sad to leave a familiar place with people you know and like. By your own admission, you love your current city, you built a community and you like your advisor. Of course you will be sad to leave! You're also going to move to a new place that you've only been to once to work with people you barely know. Of course you will be fearful about the situation!

That doesn't mean, however, that leaving is a bad decision. After all, at some point you were new to your current city, right? There was a time in your life when you didn't know your current advisor and didn't have a community in your current city. You had to build those things, too. You took a chance. And so you will take this chance build these components anew in your new city.


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  • 10 months later...

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